Energy Minister Francis Logan today announced a groundbreaking new partnership between Western Power and Landcare Australia that would increase possum survival rates in the South-West region.
The possum project is part of a $495,000 commitment by Western Power to community projects in regional Western Australia.
Mr Logan said the money would be spent over the next three years to support two programs - ‘Possum Power’ and the new ‘Community Chest’ program.
The Minister made the announcement at St Joseph’s Primary School in Busselton where students were building boxes to help rehabilitated ringtail possums when they were released back into the wild.
“Possum boxes are vital when injured or hand-reared possums are released back into the wild,” he said.
“They are equally important when residential developments, infrastructure construction or other factors have led to the loss of the possum’s natural habitat.
“The Western Power/Landcare partnership will use the wildlife carer group Kanyana and local schools to build and locate the possum boxes in areas where they are most needed.”
Western Power managing director Doug Aberle said that the nature of Western Power’s infrastructure meant that possums were, at times, inadvertently injured or killed by powerlines.
“Possums use powerlines as a ‘superhighway’ in areas where there has been habitat loss, often due to land clearing in areas like Busselton,” Mr Aberle said.
“The results are often fatal, so we are very proud to be involved in a program that will help improve the survival rate and habitat of the ringtail and brushtail possum.”
Landcare Australia chief executive officer Brian Scarsbrick said the program’s engagement of young people in developing an understanding of the habitat for the native fauna was a great approach.
“Young people everywhere are really concerned about the environment - it’s actually their second greatest fear after losing a parent - and they are keen to be able to help and get involved in practical landcare projects like this,” he said.
The ‘Community Chest’ program is designed to foster closer links with the community, landowners and stakeholders who may be impacted by the construction and operation of the electricity supply network.
Mr Logan said Western Power was committed to minimising the impact it had on the environment and the local community when carrying out its planned works program.
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